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Impediments to Implementing Curricular Change: Training and Support of Teachers PRESERVICE EDUCATION: TEACHING THE TEACHERS The present process of learning to teach is long and continuous. It begins well before a prospective teacher enters a formal program, during 12- 14 years of "apprenticeship of observations"; by watching teachers go about their work, students garner many ideas about teaching and learning (NCRTE, 1988~. Formally, it starts with admission into a program for educating teachers (preservice education), usually in the sophomore or junior year of undergraduate education. It continues with induction into the profession (practice teaching or interning) during the senior year or in a postbaccalaureate year and inservice education throughout one's teaching career. When the student completes the preservice program, state policies determine what subjects one may teach at what level and for how long. Preservice Education of High-School Biology Teachers The undergraduate biology and related science education of prospective American teachers varies greatly, depending on the type of institution they attend. Traditional programs for educating biology teachers at universities that have schools or colleges of education include a biology major and pedagogical and professional courses that can be completed in 4 years. A successful graduate receives a bachelor's degree and qualifies to apply for a teaching license. More recently, some research universities have moved to programs that couple a standard biology major with a fifth (and sometimes a sixth) year of pedagogical, professional, and practical experience. Most programs requiring ~ years result In note bachelor s and master s Degrees, as well as teaching - ' - _ 7 r -- r - - r ~ __ 53
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54 FULFILLING THE PROMISE licenses; 5-year programs lead to a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. New York and California have required 5-year programs for more than 50 years. Generally, undergraduate courses taken by preservice biology teachers are the same as those taken by students preparing for professional or graduate schools. Two professional associations, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), have recommended numbers and types of courses for programs instructing future biology teachers (Appendixes B and C). Our committee is concerned about both the scope and the format of sci- ence courses currently available to prospective teachers. In most colleges, large, impersonal lecture courses and structured laboratory activities in science depart- ments make up the format, and prospective teachers have few opportunities to participate in long-range laboratory inquiries, to lead fruitful discussions, or to ask and respond to penetrating questions. The infrequent use of creative inquiry or of strategies for cooperative learning in high-school biology classrooms) is probably related to their absence in most college programs. A recent asse~s- ment of mathematics education (NRC, 1989a) came to the same condom in suggesting that a major problem in elementary-school and secondary-school mathematics instruction is that most teachers have studied only in an authori- tarian framework. The component of preservice course work that deals with teaching methods involves general instruction in the sociology of schools and the psychology of learning and usually a one-semester course in methods of teaching science. The fundamental difficulty with the courses in pedagogy is that they are unrelated to the specifics of teaching the concepts of biology. Skillful and experienced teachers have discovered, through practice, effective techniques for teaching specific scientific concepts, but little of this useful information is incorporated into the preservice education of teachers. Recently, the curriculum has been augmented with courses on, for example, early field (classroom) experiences, multicultural education, and science, technology, and society (STS). But few institutions include courses on research about learning, on building and practicing techniques of communicating science to students at different ages (content pedagogy), or on inducting new teachers into the schools. The courses dealing with both content and pedagogy need to be changed; however, the most pressing need is to integrate these two components of preservice education. Preservice Education of Elementary-School, Middle-School, and Junior-High-School Teachers Programs to educate prospective elementary-school and middle- or junior- higb,-school teachers to teach science are even more diverse and inadequate. Historically, preservice education for elementary-school teachers (grades K-5 or K-6) has prepared generalists who have extensive training in pedagogy. Most prospective elementary-school teachers major in elementary education in colleges of education, and their undergraduate programs generally consist of one-third general-education courses (such as English, speech, and psychology), one-third content courses (such as language arts, children's literature, biology,
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 55 physical sciences, and mathematics), and one-third pedagogical courses (excep- tional children, methods of teaching in each subject, classroom management, and so forth). Depending on the institution, elementary-education majors take regular courses in a subject (e.g., introduction to biology) or courses especially designed for them (for example, biology for elementary-education majors). One feature consistently characterizes those programs: prospective elemen- tary-school teachers study very little science. As a group, they are therefore poorly prepared to teach science, and most of them devote little time to science instruction in their classrooms. Weiss (1987) reports that in 1985-1986 the average time per day spent in teaching science in elementary school is 18 minutes for grades K-3 and 29 minutes for grades 4-6. Preparation of prospective teachers in middle or junior high schools is not based on a coherent philosophy. In some states, teachers for middle and high schools come through the same kind of preservice programs. In states that have special requirements for licensing for grades 6-9, however, institutions have developed preservice programs for middle- or junior-high-school teachers. Usually, such programs are in colleges of education; that is, students major in education, but have a minor in science. One common weakness is that many students take survey courses in several sciences and do not gain in-depth preparation in any one science. The Process of Induction in the Education of Precollege Teachers The final preparation for teaching in all grades is student teaching, which is usually a full-time experience for less than a semester. Recently, longer (and partially paid) internships have become more popular in graduate schools of education, which collaborate with what are called professional-development schools. Such schools might be jointly operated by school districts and univer- sities, with the aim of providing a more structured and supportive introduction to teaching than is usually available. Internships can replace student teaching (usually in 5-year programs) or be used in a special first-year position in which beginning biology teachers are under the supervision of an experienced mentor. In other cases, internships are part of a program in which a university warranties the quality of its education graduates by agreeing to assist first-year teachers (often called interns) in overcoming deficiencies. Such warranty programs are available in a variety of institutions, such as research universities, state universities and teacher education institutions, several small colleges, and some institutions predominantly for blacks. Currents of Reform and Their Possible Impact Several reports have recently refocused national attention on the education of teachers. The Holmes Group (1986), a consortium of more than 120 uni- versities with a commitment to research, has developed an agenda for training teachers that is radically different from most existing programs. It proposes to abolish the undergraduate education major; to develop a differentiated teaching
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56 FULFILLING THE PROMISE force, distinguished by specific disciplinary teaching licenses; and to establish programs for professional development and practical training in which prospec- tive teachers would enroll for a fifth year after receiving their bachelor's degree in a 4-year liberal-arts curriculum. The Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession (1986)-a group of industry, government, and education leaders has specified similar changes for programs that educate teachers. In addition, it has supported the establishment of a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards that would restructure the teaching force into four levels. The task force further recommends the development of clinical schools for the practical component of teachers' training. The Holmes and Carnegie groups differ on some issues, such as the urgency of recruiting minority-group members into teaching and the importance of assessing students' learning and teachers' accountability. Together, however, they provide both a focus and an agenda for reform. The education of teachers in the United States appears to be entering another period of substantial change. Although it holds promise of improving the programs in which teachers are trained, effective reform will have to occur within the broad spectrum of institutions that educate teachers. Perhaps because of their exclusion or lack of involvement, an association of institutions traditionally devoted to the education of teachers has questioned the recent suggestions for reform. The Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TECSCU), a group of institutions that has a long tradition of preparing teachers for elementary and secondary schools, supports retaining the education major and the standard 4-year program, requiring the same standards for certifying all teachers, eliminating the establishment of national standards of competence, and strengthening the role of the school principal. Much of the current reform movement focuses on the comparative efficacy of degrees in education and degrees in the arts and sciences, but little empirical research informs the debate. What teachers actually learn from science or education courses and how that learning is related to their effectiveness in the classroom are not well understood (Guyton and Farokhi, 1987; NCRTE, 1988~. One of the current problems is the inability to sort out the effects of informal observations, practical experiences, and formal courses on what a teacher learns and how a teacher teaches. Several current studies might help to clarify the matter (Hummer and Strom, 1987; NCRTE, 1988~. Most programs, in both science departments and schools of education, lack a continuous series of experiences that allow prospective teachers to develop skills in using analogies and examples to illustrate and clarify the science to be taught. The Holmes Group initiatives do not explicitly address the development of pedagogical knowledge that is specific to a subject; rather, they assume that knowledge of content (e.g., gained through a biology major) is adequate. An add-on fifth year might separate pedagogical courses further from content courses and will not provide continuous structured opportunities to integrate pedagogy and content. The issue is critical, because the pedagogical techniques for teaching specific science content as a process of inquiry are largely missing from all present college and university curricula. In the preparation of elementary-school teachers, two routes have been
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 57 taken by institutions adhering to the Holmes Group recommendation: some have developed special interdisciplinary majors (e.g., science-mathematics, language arts, life studies), and others have steered prospective elementary-school teachers into traditional majors. With the elimination of the elementary-education major, one concern is that few prospective elementary-school teachers will choose the science-mathematics interdisciplinary major or a traditional major in one of the natural sciences. The science requirements in many humanities, arts, and social-science majors are even lower than those in current elementary education majors, so the next generation of elementary-school teachers might have less experience with science than do the current teachers. As part of a Carnegie study of adolescent development, a task force has advocated special preservice programs for prospective middle-school teachers that provide a firm foundation in science (including depth in one field), courses on early adolescence, and pedagogy integrated with practice (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989~. In one suggested approach, prospective middle-school teachers would enroll in traditional academic majors, which would be augmented by opportunities to observe and work with early adolescents as early as the freshman year. The task force recommends an undergraduate education with a concentration on two academic subjects followed by a period of internship or apprenticeship in a middle school (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989~. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, initiated by the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession (1986), has made recommen- dations for preservice education of teachers and stresses the need to integrate subject and pedagogy throughout the preservice program. Conclusions The preparation of future teachers is in need of drastic reform. Existing standards for both content and pedagogy are inadequate to meet current societal expectations. The problem will be exacerbated in the next decade, unless much stronger teacher preparation is initiated. Effective biology teaching requires being able to deco, as well as to know, and new programs must ensure that new teachers not only understand biology, but have the skills to relate scientific concepts to children of different ages. Recommendations Our recommendations for preservice education and the induction of teachers focus on the nature of courses and programs in the undergraduate major, the need for appropriate research on teaching, and the type of institution for educating future biology teachers. A high-school curriculum that treats science as a process for know- ing about the world can be successful only if the teachers have a deep understanding of that process themselves. We therefore [eel that every teacher who has responsibility for a high-school science class should have
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58 FULFILLING THE PROMISE had the experience of engaging in original research earlier under the direc- tion of a research scientist. Ideally, that should happen as part of preservice education, even if for only a semester or a summer. For active teachers who have missed the opportunity, inservice mechanisms must be devised, as recommended below. · Prospective teachers of high-school biology should be prepared in cell and developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, and molecular biology and biochemistry. Those fields should guide their selection of courses, which should be underpinned by a basic exposure to mathematics and the physical sciences. We encourage experiences that explore new ways to break down traditional barriers between the natural sciences and between the natural and social sciences. Wherever possible, the curriculum should include at least one course in which science is related to issues of public concern. · The most important change in the undergraduate curriculum will require the participation of university science and education faculty in creating environments for learning that are less authoritarian and that engage future teachers in discussion of concepts, the relations between scientific disciplines, and cooperative analysis of information. New, more effective processes should be developed for integrating pedagogical and scientific subject matter. In schools that train many teachers, special sections could be created in which the students have an opportunity to discuss how their experiences at the college level could be best modified to present important concepts and principles to younger students. · Faculties of schools of education and science departments should collaborate to develop science-methods courses. The goal of such courses would be to combine appropriate teaching pedagogy with scientific methods; they would be taught by biologists or biology-education specialists. · Undergraduate programs are needed that will better prepare teach- ers to deal with science in elementary and middle schools. Such programs could have an integrated science or science-mathematics major. The ped- agogical character of the programs will differ from that appropriate for high-school teachers, but there are few if any usable models. · Other issues that need attention include instruction in the strengths and weaknesses of different procedures for testing at different age levels and evaluation and selection of appropriate curricular materials, especially textbooks. · There is a dearth of research on what makes teacher-education pro- grams effective. Among the questions that need to be asked and analyzed are the following: What is the relative efficacy of 4- and 5-year programs? What scientific skills, strategies, and knowledge are most needed by biology teachers? What facilitates the acquisition and use of those skills and knowledge by novice teachers? -What type of induction period maximizes teachers' effectiveness and students' learning?
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 59 · Some institutions now training biology teachers should not train them. For example, some fundamentalist colleges and universities do not teach evolution. A national group should consider the material that must be offered to provide adequate preservice education in the sciences. · Current movements for reform of the teaching profession argue that adequate preservice education requires more than 4 years and a bach- elor's degree. We support that view, but feel that several patterns in 5-year programs might be valid. For example, a student who receives a bachelor of arts or science in biology as part of a liberal-arts curriculum could spend a fifth year largely under the wing of a senior mentor, obtaining experience in the classroom, rather than in a full program of more courses. Regardless of the details of the preservice experience, however, teachers' education should include both attention to "content-pedagogy" and care- fully designed inservice programs. Particularly during the first several years of teaching, the focus of inservice programs should be on techniques _. _ , . . . . . . for teaching science. In later years, they should provide mechanisms for updating teachers' knowledge of science. · The plans of the reform movement to lengthen preservice education from 4 to 5 years are likely to make it more difficult to attract talented neonIe from impoverished backgrounds and have a disproportionate impact ~ ~ ~ C7 ~ ~ ~ . .. . . .. . . ... .. ~ on minority groups. As part of recruitment, institutions must find ways to allow prospective teachers to fulfill undergraduate biology majors and teacher licensing requirements without additional expense. LICENSING AND CERTIFICATION OF TEACHERS Until recently, the terms "license" and "certification" were used inter- changeably to indicate the legal approval by a state to teach, but today there is a distinction between the two terms and the two processes. States grant licenses; professional groups confer certification. Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey articulated the difference (National Governors' Association for Policy Research, 1988, p. ii): Board certification will be different from state licensing. State licensure will continue as a prerequisite for teaching, while professional board certification will offer an option to teachers who would like to be recognized for what they know and can do as first class practitioners. Both will exist in parallel as they do in most other professions. L· ~ Icenslug When students complete approved course work and practical experience, they receive short-term (3- to 5-year) state licenses. Licenses are for specific subjects and teaching levels. Traditionally, states approve college programs and graduates receive licenses automatically. State requirements include type and number of hours in specific disciplinary and professional courses, as well
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60 FULFILLING THE PROMISE as general competence. In the case of biology, most practicing teachers are licensed. A survey of 23 states indicated that only 9% of newly hired teachers and 6% of practicing biology teachers did not hold licenses to teach biology as a major or minor field (Champagne and Baden, 1988~. However, there are shortages of teachers in the physical sciences, and chemistry and especially physics are often taught by persons without appropriate licenses. That situation is particularly common in rural schools, where only one or two classes of chemistry or physics are offered each year. In some states, superintendents can ask for emergency licenses that allow teachers to teach out of their own fields. Subject specialty is often ignored in the assignment of teachers to science classes in middle and junior high schools. Many teachers with specialties in agriculture, home economics, or general science teach whatever middle- or junior-high-school science is offered. A license to teach general science does not mean that its holder has adequate training in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science; many persons with this category of license have only a general educational background in science. Teaching licenses granted in one state usually are recognized in another. Most colleges and universities seek approval of their programs for educating teachers by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE's imprimatur is impor- tant, because graduation from an NCATE-approved program assures prospective teachers that their licenses will be honored in most states. NCATE standards have emphasized pedagogy, often to the neglect of content. Moreover, many preservice programs in research universities have not met NCATE standards for the number and variety of field experiences or number and kinds of education courses. Recently, two professional associations of teachers, the National Associ- ation of Biology Teachers (NABT, 1985) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA, 1984), have recommended appropriate courses and teach- ing competences that have ramifications for both licensing and certification (Appendixes B and C). NABT recommends criteria for minimal content and competence in an undergraduate program leading to a biology-teaching license; NSTA has developed mechanisms to review preparatory programs, to evaluate inservice education, and to bestow approval on teachers. The recent adoption of NSTA standards by NCATE makes those standards potentially important. Weiss's (1987) survey results indicate that 80% of responding high-school biology teachers meet the general 32-hour biology requirements suggested by NSTA, but only 29% of all biology teachers satisfy all the NSTA requirements; the rest generally lack one or more specific courses. Until recently, graduation from an approved program has been sufficient for a teaching license. During the last 5 years, however, national examinations have been added. In general, they attempt to assess both basic skills and professional knowledge. Today, 42 states use tests to screen beginning teachers, and the remaining eight plan to implement them soon. Of the 42, 22 require
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 61 the National Teacher Examination, offered by the Educational Testing Service (Champagne and Baden, 1988~. The increase in the use of tests to measure the competence of teachers is part of the current reform movement. Tests (or grade-point average~PA in courses) may be used on entrance into preservice programs or later, as part of the licensing process. Reliance on those criteria, however, raises a number of issues that have not been well explored. Guyton and Farokhi (1987) studied whether basic skills and academic performance were related to subject knowl- edge and teaching performance in the classroom. According to the authors, the study failed to support three current trends that have led to the adoption of examinations for teachers: testing of basic skills before entry into teacher education does not screen out persons who will become less-able teachers; the GPA is not a predictor of a teacher's performance, so raising the GPA as a requirement for entrance into teacher-education programs is of questionable value; and it cannot be assumed that one can equate subject knowledge with ability to teach. Analysis points up the need to relate pedagogy more effectively to subject matter in the training of teachers and the need to examine critically new procedures that purport to assess teachers with examinations. However, the GPA is not irrelevant as a measure of academic performance and we should try to attract talented individuals to the profession of teaching. The State of Georgia has sponsored studies to assess teachers. Using lesson plans submitted by the teachers and observation of classrooms, the state has invested over $2 million in developing a system for evaluating the performance of new teachers (Bethel, 1984~. Other states are following Georgia's example. Teaching licenses in many states are tied to passing the assessment process, but critical evaluation of the process itself is still lacking. Perhaps because teacher licensing is cumbersome and burdened with spe- cific regulations, reformers have sought to implement and test alternative routes to licenses. In 1987, 24 states had alternative licensing programs designed, at least in part, to increase the numbers of science and mathematics teachers by decreasing the number of disincentives to entering the teaching profession (Blank, 1988; see Appendix D). Those programs allow college graduates to become teachers without matriculating in a formal preservice program. One of the most publicized new routes has been the Provisional Teacher Program approved by the New Jersey State Board of Education, under which anyone who has a baccalaureate degree, passes an examination in a particular subject, and completes a 1-year intern program may be licensed to teach (Cooperman and Klagholz, 19851. Furthermore, the program permits a school district to select a well-qualified, nonlicensed provisional teacher over a less- qualified, licensed teacher. Since it began in 1985, more than 1,500 new provisional teachers have entered New Jersey classrooms through the Provisional Teacher Program. Nearly 30% of the state's new public-school teachers in 1988 and 24% in 1989 were hired under the program (New Jersey State Department
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62 FULFILLING THE PROMISE of Education, 19891. State officials claim that the caliber of new recruits is on the whole higher than that of the state's licensed teachers (New York Times, September 13, 1989~. New Jersey's experiment needs to be followed closely. One potential problem is that teachers unions view alternative paths to licensing with suspicion, seeing them as mechanisms to keep teachers' salaries low in periods or areas of high demand and low supply. Certification Professional certification of teachers is one of the cornerstones of the cur- rent reform movement. The first professional organization to grant certification was NSTA. Both the Holmes Group (1986) and the projects initiated by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (1986) advocate professional certification of well-prepared teachers. The Holmes Group envisions differential certification of graduates of 5-year programs of teacher education. The Teacher Assessment Project, funded by Carnegie at Stanford University, has been developing stan- dards that could be used to confer professional certification. Various interrelated programs in the Connecticut Continuum project also have potential as a means to this end. The National Governors' Association and the research and devel- opment projects funded by Carnegie have supported the recent establishment of a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) that eventually plans to certify teachers who have fulfilled special preservice and induction requirements. Practical skills, pedagogical skills, and pedagogical knowledge of the subject would be assessed, in addition to subject knowledge. One basis of the project is to engage teachers in the setting and meeting of standards for membership in the teaching force. The NBPTS therefore has drawn two-thirds of its members from the teaching profession and one-third from the public and from universities. The NBPTS expects to begin certifying teachers in 1993 and hopes eventually to certify every qualified teacher in the nation. Both the suggested requirements and the process of certification make the implications of this program profound, but acceptance and support by teachers are as yet unknown. If adopted by states and teachers unions, certification will force the fol- lowing changes in the education of biology teachers: · Induction into teaching that starts during preservice and extends over several years. . Opportunities for developing skills in teaching science combined with opportunities for reflection on teaching effectiveness. · Teaching as a shared practice. · National examinations in subject matter, which will influence courses in preserves programs. · Inservice programs in which practicing teachers and principals will serve as mentors.
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 63 · Cooperation of colleges and universities, schools, and unions in helping candidates to meet requirements for certification. Conclusions In efforts to improve the performance of our nation's schools, attempts are being made to strengthen the licensing process and to create an alternative in the form of professional certification. Changes in licensing requirements have so far focused on examinations of debatable relevance and on alternative licensing schemes that hold considerable promise, but are also subject to administrative misuse. Plans for certification have the potential for creating generally accepted national standards. Recommendations · State licensing regulations should be altered so as to facilitate, not impede, improvement of preservice education. · The various alternative ways to obtain teaching licenses (late entry, long internship, etc.) should be critically evaluated. Existing models, such as New Jersey's Provisional Teacher Program, need to be compared, particularly with respect to the teaching of science. · Questionable routes to licensing, such as emergency certification and seniority rules that cut across disciplines, should be eliminated. The practice of assigning unqualified persons to teach science simply because they have seniority in the school system is without educational justification and must cease. · We support a thorough review of the National Teacher Examination to ensure that it is related to teaching performance, not simply to basic content knowledge and exposure to required courses. · Major changes in certification along the lines of Stanford's Teacher Assessment Project or the Connecticut Continuum project are occurring. An independent national committee composed of biologists, teachers, biol- ogy educators, and state school personnel-should evaluate those plans and others with particular emphasis on their adequacy for assessing competence to teach science as a process of inquiry and discovery. · Standards for certification of science specialists in elementary schools and of life-science teachers in middle and junior high schools need to be developed. Ideally, however, the task should be addressed as part of a larger effort to define the flow of scientific education from kindergarten through high school. · Efforts should be made to clarify the role of mentor teachers that are to be required for national board certification. Mentoring is not a common working concept for today's teachers, who perform their
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64 FULFILLING THE PROMISE duties in isolation from one another and with great autonomy. Few could define a mentor or describe what one does. Mentor relationships between experienced and novice teachers, however, are a cornerstone of the reform movement. The subject of mentoring is discussed at length in the following section. INSERVICE EDUCATION: HOW TEACHERS CONTINUE TO LEARN Background "Inservice education" refers to the formal, usually structured activities of practicing teachers intended to improve their knowledge or skills. It is a form of continuing education. Local districts have a major influence on inservice education, in that they can specify the kinds of academic credits or other activities that will advance a teacher on the salary scale. States, too, can require kinds and numbers of inservice activities for renewal of teaching licenses. More recently, professional teachers' groups have identified inservice education as a sphere they want to influence. Teacher associations, unions, and interested commissions and foundations have begun to recommend standards for inservice education (Green, 19871. The nature of inservice activities is changing. About half the states require a master's degree for a professional license, which allows a teacher to teach virtually permanently. Today, 63% of all grade 10-12 science teachers already have master's degrees, so fewer teachers are returning to universities for further education. But to advance on the salary scale, teachers need continuing education. Recently, teachers unions have argued that teachers, rather than institutions of higher education, should provide, or at least select, the additional experiences or course work needed for professional renewal. Perhaps as a result, there has been a proliferation of short, topical workshops, usually offered by private educational consulting firms, at which teachers earn credit renewal units (CRUs) or continuing education units (CEUs). Educational consulting agencies charge for their work and are competitive; that can lead to reductions in time requirements and rigor to secure a contract. Such inservice activity is contracted by school districts, many of which have an administrator designated to select and organize inservice programs, or by local teachers unions. Although some skills can be taught by one practitioner to another, others, such as updating of content, require college researchers and teachers. More familiar to scientists is the major attempt to reform and revitalize inservice education for science teachers that was undertaken by the federal government during the 1960s and 1970s. Academic-year institutes and summer institutes were sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Those programs had the following characteristics:
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 65 They emphasized knowledge of the subject (e.g., biology). They introduced new curricular programs. They reflected the nature of the scientific enterprise and what scientists do. · They involved formal course work and academic credits leading to a master's degree in biology. · They paid teachers stipends and travel expenses for attending. The primary focus of the institutes was on updating teachers' knowledge of science, and in this they were undoubtedly successful. They paid less attention, however, to changing teaching methods (i.e., to content-specific pedagogy). A 1977 survey indicated that nearly 80% of mathematics and science supervisors and 47% of science teachers in grades 10-12 had attended NSF inservice institutes. However, only about 5% of grade K-3 teachers had attended such programs (OTA, 1988~. Although the General Accounting Office (GAO) reported little effect of the institutes on student achievement scores (GAO, 1984), results of studies by the Congressional Research Service and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching indicate that the institutes had positive effects (OTA, 19881. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the examinations that test achievement in biology were not well matched to the laboratory-based experiences offered by the institutes. Furthermore, it became clear to this committee through meeting with several hundred biology teachers that the NSF-sponsored summer institutes had a deeply positive effect on teachers' morale and sense of belonging to the wider scientific community. Critics of the institutes have dismissed that result as marginally important (GAO, 1984~. But, in a profession to which it is difficult to attract talented people and in which it is a struggle to prevent burnout, inservice programs that help teachers to "feel good" about what they are doing certainly must touch the classroom in subtle, positive, and important ways. As we discussed in Chapter 4, average achievement-test scores tell us little about the understanding of science that students take from the classroom. In addition, they tell us nothing about how students are inspired by enthusiastic teachers to continue study of the subject in college. The type of inservice programs available to biology and natural-science teachers has changed drastically since the 1970s, when both summer and academic-year workshops and programs were offered on many college cam- puses. Today, college inservice programs are offered for short periods, are "one-shot" efforts, and usually are not conceptually organized. Not surprisingly, inservice activities in science are elected more frequently by teachers in the upper grades. In a 1985-1986 survey, only 16% of grade K-6 teachers, but 47% of teachers in grades 7-9 and 46% of teachers in grades 9-12, had taken a science course since 1983 (Weiss, 19874. (The percentage
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66 FULFILLING THE PROMISE of teachers in grades 7-9 reflects an NSF program directive to enhance middle- school science.) Similarly, when teachers are asked how much time they spent on inservice education in science in the preceding year, half the grade K-6 teachers, but fewer than one-third of grade 7-12 teachers respond none. Discrepancies exist in the availability of inservice science education for teachers at various grade levels. Furthermore, NSF awards (in contrast with formula grants) are made to individual institutions on the basis of merit, so availability varies considerably with geographical area. When Weiss (1987) asked teachers to describe their preferences for schedul- ing inservice activities, 60% responded that they would "very likely" attend if a workshop were offered on a workday. However, only one in three would be very likely to attend a summer or after-school meeting, and only one in five secondary-school science and mathematics teachers and one in seven elementary-school teachers would be very likely to attend Saturday or evening inservice programs. Yet almost all the earlier NSF institutes were on Saturdays, after school, or in the summer. Clearly, both the scheduling and substance of teacher inservice programs have changed dramatically in the last 2 decades. A lack of stimulating inservice activities for science teachers could be a major contributing factor in that change; however, if teachers' attitudes about the pro- fessional importance of keeping abreast of advances in science have changed, the problem is even deeper. Reform Movements and Inservice Programs After a period of severe budgetary cutbacks and elimination of programs in education, the NSF Directorate for Science and Engineering Education once again has funds in its teacher-enhancement and network programs, but there is no apparent cohesive strategy for improving the science teaching force. Although a plan for dissemination must be part of every proposal submitted to NSF, principal investigators have autonomy to develop individual projects and programs. NSF has not targeted for broad study and impact any specific components of inservice education, such as courses in new biological topics, improvement of students' quantitative abilities, development of mentor-teacher skills, integration of mathematics and science, or teaching to all students. In short, NSF has not developed a long-term agenda for reform. Disparate programs, delivered in a variety of ways, are not likely to address the substantive needs of practicing biology teachers nationally, nor to foster a professional camaraderie, as did the NSF inservice programs during the 1960s and 1970s. Some inservice programs have nevertheless been successful (see Appendix E). But such programs for high-school teachers are too few and too limited in scope to address the national problem. The most successful examples should be examined to identify the elements that make them successful, and funds
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 67 should be found to replicate these models so as to make outstanding inservice opportunities much more widely available. Both the Holmes- and Carnegie-sponsored initiatives propose changing the nature of the teaching force; both advocate differentiated teaching staffs with professional or lead or mentor teachers (all terms are used) having more responsibilities and receiving more remuneration. For example, a Carnegie report (1986) recommends introducing "lead teachers" who can help to re- design schools and assist their peers in upholding high standards. Furthermore, certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards rests on the identification and cooperation of existing teachers to serve as mentors. The members of the Holmes Group advocate that teachers in their professional development schools have high status and participate continually in giving and . . · . . receiving ~nserv~ce ec ucat~on. None of those recommendations, however, focuses on the specific nature of inservice education that will change how science is taught in the nation's schools. Indeed, the Holmes Group assumes that teachers who have better preservice preparation will automatically continue in their field, whereas the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards addresses inservice education only as part of a 3-year induction process. Neither the members of the formal reform movement nor the informal task forces, consortia, or commissions have addressed the critical needs in inservice education for the approximately 37,000 biology teachers now in the profession, and all plans for reform require changes in preservice preparation that are far from being in place. The Concept of Mentors The use of mentors is not a working concept in today's schools. In other professions, a mentor is a trusted counselor who provides support and guidance to junior professionals. In our nation's schools, however, there are few documented examples of young teachers' benefiting from the knowledge and experience of master teachers. We consider interactions with experienced faculty an important part of the induction process, but young teachers are now expected to go out on their own after graduating from college, and only rarely are master teachers used to train them. When such interactions do occur, they usually take the form of reporting on skills or techniques learned during a workshop offered at a conference or summer inservice activity. Although those activities are desirable, a much greater potential exists for experienced teachers to contribute to the continuing inservice education of less-experienced teachers. We also consider mentoring to be an important part of the professional development of master teachers. By assisting in the training of young teachers, older teachers can share valuable skills acquired through years of classroom experience with the next generation of teachers. Exemplary teachers should also be encouraged to devise new pedagogical techniques.
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68 FULFILLING THE PROMISE The Role of Mentors Mentor teachers should play an important part in the continuing education of both novice and experienced teachers. They should give special attention to teachers during the critical first few years. In particular, mentor teachers would: · Help novice science teachers to make the best use of class time, curricular materials, laboratory time, and resources. · Help novice science teachers with practical guidance on instructional techniques. · Support beginning teachers by providing ideas for science activities and information about local informal science resources. Notify beginning teachers of pertinent and quality inservice activities. Supervise novice teachers in both classroom and laboratory settings. Provide advice about school and district policies. Substitute for novice teachers, so that they can visit classrooms of more experienced teachers. · Help experienced teachers change their teaching methods, enhance their laboratory programs, and improve their program of assessment. Encourage other science teachers to observe their teaching. Identification of Mentors There are few examples of mentor-teacher programs. Most teachers who serve as advisors of younger teachers are self-selected, because few, if any, institutional benefits are related to mentoring in its present context. Mentoring will not become a working concept without some drastic changes in how master teachers are used within schools. Several options are available to identify mentor teachers, but they are untested. A mechanism must be developed, perhaps in the form of professional certification, to identify mentor teachers. The National Science Teachers Asso- ciation (NSTA) certifies teachers who submit proof of having achieved NSTA standards for science teaching. Relatively few teachers, however, have chosen to become certified this way. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards potentially offers another type of certification for mentors. Connecticut's Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) Program (1988a, 1988b, 1988c) is another exam- ple of a new program that highlights the continuum of professional development from novice to mentor teacher; more efforts in this direction are encouraged. Benefits to the Mentors The goals of mentor teachers will be to provide advice and guidance to novice teachers and to help to institute curricular reform. Through participation
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 69 in a mentoring program, experienced teachers would benefit by gaining the opportunity to teach other teachers at a higher level. The break in routine would be a rejuvenating experience for committed teachers who might otherwise suffer from "burnout." To attract the best teachers into mentoring programs, incentives must be built into the system: . Released time for mentor teachers to work with younger teachers should be funded. · Mentor teachers should be scheduled to teach fewer classes per day and should use this released time to supervise new teachers. · Sabbatical time should be given to teachers to work with university researchers to improve their laboratory skills and content knowledge or to work with science educators on new curriculum projects and inservice activities. They would take their knowledge and skills back to their home schools and conduct inservice activities for other teachers. Conclusions When biology teachers have inservice opportunities in the discipline, it is usually under the auspices of a local university that has received an NSF grant or occasionally a Department of Education Title II award for teacher enhance- ment. Those programs run the gamut 2-day workshops, summer research experiences in industry or at a university, long-term involvement in curricular development, and so forth. Because of restrictions imposed by universities or NSF, few of the programs offer academic credit to the participating teachers, and support for travel and stipends has been reintroduced only recently. Few are incorporated into a conceptual approach that leads either to an advanced degree or to a deep understanding of the discipline. National leadership is clearly needed in identifying and defining the kinds of inservice programs that will be most successful in fostering inquiry-based learning by students, in integrating biological information and content pedagogy effectively for teachers, and in generating mechanisms by which pedagogical skills can be propagated through the teaching profession. Reinforcement of the profession with mentor teachers who can contribute to the professional development of younger colleagues is also needed. Recommendations · Science has a continuously changing frontier, and society is charac- terized by change generated in part by science and technology. Moreover, science teaching is a profession, and a notable difference between pro- fessions and other occupations is that professionals are responsible for their own continuing education. As part of their professional development,
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70 FULFILLING TTIE PROMISE teachers must engage in inservice activities that advance their scientific knowledge. · New effective inservice programs should be created. They should be: - Attractive enough to induce many teachers to participate and ap- propriate to teachers' needs, as identified by teachers. - Conceptually organized, eventually operate in conjunction with pre- service programs, and run on a continuing basis. -Able to compensate teachers for their time. Associated with opportunities for teachers to obtain small grants that enable them to bring new approaches to the classroom. Constantly evaluated for effectiveness. Scheduled with sufficient flexibility to ensure attendance. Designed to combine understanding of what to teach with under- standing of how to teach. Designed and conducted with the collaboration of experienced sci- ence teachers, educators, and research scientists. Coupled to mechanisms for disseminating new information through- out the school district. · The assumption that summer institutes like those sponsored by NSF a generation ago, which gave mathematics and science teachers more up-to- date knowledge of their subjects, will necessarily lead to better teaching is naive. (As described in Chapter 8, the loss of interest in Biological Sciences Curriculum Study materials provides a lesson about the design of inservice programs.) In addition to teaching content, new inservice programs should be meticulous in developing an array of effective pedagogical techniques that engage students in learning scientific concepts instead of scientific jargon. Different models need to be tried and evaluated in novel ways. The effects on student performance should be recorded and the results reviewed by instructors and participants and fed back into program development. · The changing climate in which teachers operate suggests that some experimentation will be necessary to schedule inservice programs that will attract teachers, but also will be interesting, demanding, and rigorous enough to change how teachers operate in the classroom. Moreover, pre- college science faculty should have flexibility to choose inservice programs according to the needs of individual schools and teachers and not have inservice options thrust on them by administrators who are not engaged in teaching. · Change for teachers will be gradual and will depend on their own perceptions, as well as student, parent, and community perceptions of improved results. Teachers therefore need support after the inservice work (Guskey, 1986~. They must be given time to assimilate the knowledge
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TRAINING AND SUPPORT OF TEACHERS 71 and suggestions proposed during inservice programs, to consider how the changes will affect teaching and learning in their classrooms, and to consult with colleagues. Attention should therefore be given to the need for long- term collaborative arrangements for inservice support. Such inservice activities should focus on collaborations among industry, the university research community, and schools. They should involve federal and private sponsorship, rather than be expressly commercial. And they should be guided by the proper educational criteria, as described above. · What has been said about inservice programs for high-school teach- ers generally holds for elementary-school and middle-school teachers. The available models are fewer, and the backgrounds, motivations, and interests of the teachers are different, even though the challenge is no less impor- tant. Because the nature of the task is different from that posed in the case of high-school teachers, we recommend the development of distinct cooperative inservice programs for elementary-school and middle-school teachers. · Some partnerships between school districts on one side and univer- sities, foundations, and local industries on the other are trying to enhance classroom performance. As suggested by the preceding two recommenda- tions, more need to be tried. Owing to local autonomy, the difficulty with this approach in isolation is that it will tell us little about what works or why. We need improved mechanisms for assessing the success of the various experiments in inservice education that are under way. The assessments must be more sophisticated than the traditional recourse to average scores on regional or national examinations. Pedagogical skills can be identified, taught, and assessed (Kahle, 1985, 1987~. We also need improved methods for distributing information developed in successful inservice programs, and we need to attract the participation of additional teachers. These are not matters that can be accomplished in a single effort; continuous evalu- ation involving longitudinal and case studies will be required. In Chapter 8, we suggest how the research community might collaborate with teachers and others to accomplish these goals. · New inservice programs should address the need to develop a larger cadre of mentor teachers. Graduates of such activities should be prepared to provide assistance to other teachers in their schools and districts. Fel- lowship support, perhaps even in the form of sabbaticals, should be made available to the best teachers, so that they can go to universities, improve their skills and subject knowledge, engage in science or education research, participate in curriculum development, and prepare themselves to assist less-experienced colleagues when they return to their home schools. Every effort must be made to keep such teachers in the classroom, including salary structures that reward, rather than penalize, talented teachers for remaining teachers.
Representative terms from entire chapter: